Being on your own is scary in every way, and finding you’ll be alone during a Model United Nations conference doesn’t really help ease the nerves of having to prepare position papers and a whole research binder.
I remember how nervous I was the first time I was left alone in a double delegation committee. However, I am proud to say my best performances have occurred in these circumstances, and said experiences have also helped me be a better colleague when paired with someone else. From experience, I’m confident enough to tell you there is nothing to be afraid of if you calm down, take a deep breath and read the following tips:
1) Believe. This step is so crucial that none of the others will work if you can’t embrace this one. The most common reaction I’ve seen from people who will work on their own is panic. They believe that having no partner is an automatic disadvantage to doing a great job and a complete disqualification from earning an award. My question to those who think this way is the following: if you are capable of shining in tandem with your partner, who says you can’t shine by yourself?
2)Build rapport before, during and after committee workshops and before and in-between sessions. If getting along with your co-delegates was important, then it is crucial now. Approach them in a friendly way and talk like you would to any other person you’ve just met. Smile to show them you’re an amicable and approachable person. Unless they bring up the topics, keep the conversation casual. If you can’t go to the workshops, then start by talking to your friends and figuring out if anyone they know will be in your committee. Once at the conference, keep the formality in the meetings and ease the tension during breaks. Remember: you may represent nations, but you are still people, so give yourself the privilege of enjoying the experience and making new friendships.
3) Be yourself. I think it’s already precluded in what I just said, but it’s important that you stay as true to who you are as possible. This time, people won’t look at the Delegation of Mexico; they’ll look at you, the individual, and everything concerning your country will involve you and you alone. People are more likely to remember what impression you caused if you are on your own. Keep in mind that being alone also gives you more freedom when socializing, which refers right back to the end of suggestion number one.
4) Prepare and compromise. If you want to do the best possible, then this is a must. There’s some really good advice on how to do research and great starting points in Best Delegate’s website. As well, being by yourself means you bear full responsibility of your assigned country. Respect all deadlines your school and the conference have and keep tabs on all the work you’ve done. Managing to do a good job and being responsible in the process leaves a good impression on not only your counselors and team mates, but on conference organizers and other schools as well.
5)Keep your information and materials well organized. I suggest taking a brief case, bag or backpack with the following: your binder/portfolio/briefing book, a folder with copies of your most important documents (position papers, speeches and solutions), a pencil case with two stacks of post its, liquid corrector and around four pens (these get lost easily), a world almanac (for up-to-date facts and news of the whole world), your laptop and/or at least 15 sheets of ruled paper. Ashley Inman’s article is a really good example on how to stay organized
6) Speak up! This is your best chance to shine. People will clearly remember you if stand out during speeches and moderated caucus. Take as many talking points as possible and be sure to include your main ideas of discussion. The importance of this lies in that you’ll always have something to talk about. Also, take notes of what other delegates say and while you’re up delivering your ideas, be sure to cite at least two delegations. That way, the committee will know you respect others’ points of view and are willing to work in a team, something that is bound to attract allies.
7) Provide feedback. Socialization comes up here as well. For those who have a short attention span, this requires you to be alert. While a delegate is giving a speech, pay extra attention to what they say. After they’re done, quickly jot down some of the key ideas you liked from their speech. When you’re done writing the main points, send the delegate a post-it congratulating them for the ideas and that you look forward to discussing them in the upcoming regular caucus. Keep in mind that while building rapport is good and can strengthen your performance, your Chair would like you to show some respect, which is why you should limit the number of notes and should take care to send them when no delegates are speaking.
8) Empower. Some of you are probably familiar with this one thanks to personal experience or even Best Delegate’s guide, but it’s even more important when you’re on your own. We all find a group of delegates we like working with, and it’s important that you treasure every one of them as working partners and friends. No matter how good you are at multitasking, you won’t be capable of writing the resolution and moderating the bloc at the same time. Distribute the work among your peers. Let someone hand-write the proposals while you’re busy writing the resolution project in the computer. While you’re up debating your project, hand someone else the computer and send another person to figure out what’s going on in the other bloc. Also, agree that when the Chair asks for people to defend your resolution, you will leave it to their discretion since they have more objectivity in the matter. Keep in mind that this will work if you tell everyone to report back to you, which means that others will automatically assume you’re in charge. Also, don’t ever be disrespectful and absolutely don’t play low tricks on others. If you do any of the latter, you will disrespect yourself and lose all chances of being trusted.
9) Submit Together. This part is regarding the submission of resolution projects. When it’s time to present the project to the rest of the committee, be sure to be as inclusive as possible. When the Chair asks for two people to read the resolution, promote two people who haven’t had much participation and wish to speak, and when they ask for a certain amount of people to defend the resolution, implement the strategy mentioned above. You’ll most likely be selected after all the hard work you’ve done. If not, don’t worry. Your Chair will actually appreciate how fair you were to give others a chance, something that weighs heavily during the evaluation process.
Being in a single person delegation is a great way of showing independence, responsibility and diligence. As well, it’s a wonderful opportunity to earn respect and show everyone what you’re truly capable of, so go ahead and give yourself a shot! You may be surprised with what you discover if you hold your head up, work your hardest and firmly believe in your potential.